Summary: A message on the Promises of God, and how we fail to claim them.
SURRENDERING THE LAND OF PROMISE
INTRO: When the children of Israel were led forth from Egyptian captivity, they set their eyes on a land of promise. The bones of family and friends were carried from that land in search of a land they would call their own. This land was their destiny. It was to be similar to that parcel of land surrendered by Adam & Eve so many years ago. It was always God’s plan to bless His people.
Now the land of promise was within view. The Children of Israel had experienced many trials and troubles, but now they stand on the border of paradise. Moses has led them from captivity to this place. And now the word of the Lord comes to Moses saying “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel” (13:2). Moses did as he was commanded, and sent 12 men—one man from every tribe of Israel—to scout out the land. In our text, we find their report. Notice first . . .
I. Their Property (v. 27).
This was a land literally flowing with milk and honey. Verse 23 also gives us insight into this land of promise. 14:7 adds to the report. This was as close to paradise one could get on this earth. Remember what I said a moment ago: It has always been God’s plan to bless His people. His desire is for His people to experience the best of His creation.
Since the fall, God has continually made provision for reconciliation with man. In the O.T. this was accomplished by an elaborate system of sacrifices. In the New Testament, reconciliation is brought about by the shed blood of Christ.
Now, to tie this in with our text, we find that the children of Israel— God’s people—were standing on the verge of the land of promise— the land of great blessing. All that could be hoped for lie just ahead. The end of famine, disease, battle, and captivity is seen just across the river.
Although God’s people were not there yet, the land was theirs. I don’t want you to miss that point. The land was theirs. You might say, “Pastor, I thought the scripture said the land belonged to the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites and Canaanites.” No, these warring nations may have been occupying the land, but it was not theirs.
The land of promise belonged to the children of God. Canaan land may have been occupied by hostile forces, but it still belonged to God’s people.
How can I make that bold assertion? Because it is what God’s Word declares. Look at verse 1 & 2: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel . . .”
How many of you believe that God says what He means and means what He says? He did not say “. . .which I will give unto the children of Israel. . .” He said “. . .which I give. . .” It was their land long before they stood at the river looking over into it.
God’s promise can be traced all the way back to Genesis 13:14-15. There may have been unwanted visitors—there may have been enemies occupying the land from time to time, but I want you to get this. This land belonged to the children of Israel. It was the land of promise—the promise coming from God Himself.
And so, we see first their land—it was a land of promise. It was a land of great blessing. All they had to do was go over and take possession of their blessings! And what wonderful blessings they were. The returning spies bore witness to that fact!
II. Their Peril (vv 28-29; 31-33).
The scouting report, while showing the blessings of the land, also pointed to seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The peril was a matter of perspective. They were looking at things with “earthly vision” rather than “kingdom glasses”. Instead of the promise, they were focusing on the peril. Instead of rallying to possess their possessions; they were retreating in fear. Look at their appraisal of the situation.
The people are strong. The cities are walled. There are warriors in the land. There are giants possessing the land. I want to call your attention to a telling statement found in verse 33. “. . .and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers . . .” They had a grasshopper mentality. They were full of doubt—full of fear—full of anguish. “We were grasshoppers in our own eyes.”
I wonder if we have any here this morning with grasshopper mentality? Notice what they said in verse 27: “. . .the land flows with milk and honey. . .” Now, in verse 28, we read “Nevertheless”. Know what they were saying? Yes this is a great land—a blessed land—a promised land, but the risks are too great! These statements betrayed their lack of confidence in the Lord.